I wanted to run another marathon

I wanted to post pictures and write about the half-marathon I ran last weekend. About how it was my first race in 20 months, and how amazing it felt to stand amidst a sea of runners waiting to start, and how I nearly forgot my timing chip and then my water because I’m so out of race practice. About how I managed to run within the limits of my minimal training, and how I may have been slow by my standards but how I never once walked. About how the IT band pain that derailed me for so long did not surface, which was the biggest victory of all.

I wanted to write about Vancouver. About Stanley Park and the Olympic Cauldron and the polite residents and the cute neighborhoods and the piano on a bridge. About the lovely harbor views 38 floors above the city, about my disappointment in poutine, about the excellent restaurant service, about how I appreciated the currently low Canadian dollar value. About crossing a suspension bridge under brilliant greenery with a friend who’s shared many other miles with me.

I wanted to write about Victoria. About the island views and the goats and the piglets. About the Terry Fox memorial. About hiking up a steep mountain with another friend, with whom I once ran a 5k at midnight and was Rickrolled by bearded men on a train in Portland. About a lovely 38-mile bike ride that made me realize I have somehow become one of those people who actually misses being on a bicycle if a week has passed.

And then I broke my thumb. I have two splints, one for each break. One splint requires tape, which is extra fun to redo every time I take a shower. Tomorrow I see yet another doctor who will hopefully tell me how long it will be before I can wrap a ponytail holder around my hair, wear my new hoodie (or anything long-sleeved), and steer with my left hand so my right hand (which is also mildly sprained) can go back to its main job of operating the gear shift.

At some point, I will find out how much money I must pull out of savings. I know I’m more fortunate than most because I do have that savings, so I will be more than fine. But that savings has been earmarked for something bigger, and I hate to dip into it, as I have already since my rent was increased and my spending habits did not subsequently decrease.

And so, the combination of money and now-limited training and maybe even surgery have led me here: I don’t think I can run the fall marathon that has encouraged me to keep fighting to get back on the running track of life. The expensive race-rate/Washington D.C. hotel is refundable, and that would pay a significant amount of my medical deductible. I wouldn’t eat out in as many restaurants, which would get even worse if I kept to my plan of going on to New York to see multiple friends. I wouldn’t show up with minimal training.

I entered the Marine Corps Marathon through their lottery — I threw my name in the hat and told myself, “If I get in, I’m going to take it as a sign that I should not give up on running.” I got in.

I wanted to run another marathon. I wanted to revive the hope of Boston. Last week at the end of the half-marathon, I received a carrot-shaped medal that was the most appropriate medal I could have ever received. Standing by the Olympic Cauldron, it felt like I had walked through a door into a ray of light, and that another door was finally opening ahead of me. Four days later, I smashed into the asphalt. The sound I heard was that of a door slamming shut. I don’t know if I have enough strength to try breaking down yet another door.

3 Responses to I wanted to run another marathon

  1. I know this sucks – especially since you’re just at the beginning of the healing process, BUT at least MCM allows you to transfer/sell your bib, and your hotel is refundable. There are many more marathons in your future, I’m certain of it. (And for what it’s worth, I thought MCM was overrated…though that might have more to do with me than with the race itself.) Happy healing!

  2. Ugghh. You must be in some serious pain (both physical and emotional). I’m so sorry. Sounds like this is the right decision for yourself and you know it, but that doesn’t make it any less sucky. Sending you good healing vibes. If you do decide to get back into marathon shape at another point, I’m sure you’ll be able to do it. Once you can run short slow distances (or even run/walk) I’d be happy to join you for a non-marathon training run of your chosen distance, just for fun.